Wellness over the festive period: Cocktail Shrubs
Drinking at Christmas time is synonymous with beverages laced with alcohol and sickly amounts of sugar, but it does not have to be this way.
Our resident nutritionist Rhaya Jordan has some great ideas for a refreshing drink that is sophisticated, delicious and nourishing – and can be used as a mixer with alcohol if you like!
Shrub syrups are traditional English drinks that are enjoying a bit of a revival. Originally a way to preserve and enjoy ripe fruit, the standard recipe muddles together equal parts of fruit, sugar and vinegar to create a thick syrup that can be diluted with still or sparkling water.
We updated this recipe to maximise the wellness factor by swapping refined sugar for raw honey to get the beneficial enzymes and traces of propalys, and choosing a live vinegar for gut-friendly probiotics. These ingredients create a digestive tonic that will also help keep you hydrated – essential at this time of year.
Raw shrubs are not only very simple to make, but you are also in control of flavour so you can make it as sharp, sweet, or floral as you like. Rhaya often opts for two parts of live vinegar to one part fruit and honey. Our founder, Carole Bamford has included the recipe on her blog, click here to view or view the recipe below.
Many classic shrub recipes use late summer fruit, but for a seasonal variation for winter, you could try festive flavours such as cranberry, orange and ginger, or apple with beetroot and thyme. Shrubs are a fantastic option if you are not drinking or are simply giving your liver a break – no need to endure boring soft drinks or candy-sweet mocktails. They are also a wonderful way of avoiding waste and using up scraps such as citrus peels or overripe fruit.
METHODDIFFICULTY: Easy 10 MINS
Start by weighing out your fruit, then weigh out equal measures of vinegar and honey.
Mix the honey and fruit together and muddle slightly, lightly breaking the fruit as you go.
Leave in the fridge overnight.
The following day add the vinegar and stir.
Leave for another night in the fridge before straining.
TIP: You can keep your shrub in the fridge undiluted for a day or two and the flavours will mellow and develop.
These shrubs offer a wonderfully refreshing alternative to the alcoholic offerings, though you could always swap the sparkling water for wine if you prefer.